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Review - Original TDI - By Ka-Bar

TDI is an acronym for Tactical Defense Institute, a law enforcement training facility in West Union, Ohio. The TDI knife was designed by Vietnam veteran and thirty-seven year sworn police officer Lt. John Benner. Mr. Benner is the President and Chief Instructor of TDI. My review of the TDI knife is in no way meant to detract from its normal intended use of a backup knife for Law Enforcement Officers but more to share a private side of use.

It's important to note that there is several versions of the TDI, six if I can recall but the two we are going to focus on are the Original TDI [shown above] and the TDI long [shown below]. When I first purchased this knife back in 2016, I chose to use it as a smaller alternative as my EDC knife; mostly for backup protection use. When I reorganized my EDC bag [see], I chose to go back to carrying my regular EDC knife, a Kershaw branded knife, moving my TDI to the shoulder strap because the sheath worked so much better for my needs purposes. The TDI long will eventually replace the TDI Original on the Rover Sling Pack -

The sheath is something that becomes a bit of the conversation starter, some people complain about its retention in the Kydex sheath. I've read a couple overly descriptive complaints by LEO's about the concerns and conscious thoughts of it possibly being grabbed by someone during an assault from a suspect and some of those comments come from similar knives and situations actually occurring which has prompted some local PD revising their duty belt requirements and policies to be changed. It greatly helps to be aware of your surroundings at any and all times regardless whether its an open carry knife or a poorly concealed carry firearm knowing that you could be a potential target.

In honesty, I carry my TDI in reverse fashion. By that I mean I carry the knife in an upside down fashion so its draw becomes a natural range of motion, swift and direct action. It's because of this is another reason for the choice to move towards the long version but not to have something so obvious that it stands out as a total negative attention creator by screaming "tacti-cool" wannabe. That's not the purpose nor the effect I want to be posturing.

The Original TDI comes in two blade styles; standard single edge and a serrated option, also your choice of black or a coyote tan color handles.

The sheath comes with a small tool kit, even with extra parts so you can change the position of the belt clip for left or right hand draw or even inverted carry like I use. The included screws along with the two extras come with blue loctite so they stay in place unless purposely unscrewed for alterations which I thought was a nice attention to detail from Ka-Bar.

To me the knife is comfortable in size, my general places of carry make it easy to reach even during a struggle or if I was to be on the ground. Ive had slightly larger knives and in some instances they just stand out. the use of the Original TDI was meant to be somewhat concealed, and by that I mean its low in profile and does not attract too much attention.

Just like any tool, whether it be a knife, a firearm, or a screwdriver handle or wrench. The tool usually has a particular feel and if it doesn't work for you that will change the way you see or feel about it of course. Do I like the Original TDI? The answer is yes. Would I buy it again? Absolutely! Do I recommend it? I say you should definitely check it or try it out for yourself and see if it works for you.

Check out the links in the pics for more information and for purchasing and of course jump in the conversation below on your thoughts or questions.


Sales: 702.781.0302


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